MHS Field Hockey Looks to Take Advantage Offensively

Even with a tough schedule, the Varsity Field Hockey Team is set to stay at the top of Section One.


Photo Courtesy of Frank Becurra Jr. of the Journal News

Sydney McMullen (‘23) finishes through on a swing straight down the field.

Jane McNally, Sports Page Director

Not all stories have happy endings. The Mamaroneck Varsity field hockey team certainly knows that.

In a 2020 season delayed and abbreviated by COVID-19, the team won their first 12 games–one of them being a win over the Lakeland Hornets, who hadn’t been beaten by a Section One opponent in 12 years and over 200 games. The Tigers dominated, surrendering only a handful of goals, and were led by abundant goal scoring by Hannah Rogoff (‘22) and Ava Gristina (‘22).

They lost their 13th game–the Southern Westchester Small School Championship final against Pelham–while five Tigers were contact-traced, quarantined, and unable to play.

The loss, 3-1 to the Pelicans, certainly left a sour taste in their mouths. Now, a few games into what is slated to be a ‘normal’ season of play, Mamaroneck looks to remain on top by utilizing their offensive experience.

Their attack remains unchanged–Rogoff, Gristina, and Sophia Velazco (‘22) are all returning varsity regulars. The midfield includes Lizzie Astorina (‘23), Natalie Mahland (‘22), and Lily Margoshes (‘23).

Rogoff led the team in scoring in 2020, and told The Journal News that this year the team is “very committed,” a sentiment that Mahland echoed.

A lot goes into being a player on the Mamaroneck field hockey team. Between practice, team dinners before every game, bus rides, and games, the team spends hours upon hours of time together. This, as Mahland describes it, allows the team to be “very close” and “play as one unit.”

For the first time in a handful of years, no one on the team has committed to play the sport in college. This does not faze the Tigers–in fact, Rogoff says that not playing in college next year is a motivator and increases her “drive.”

Speaking of driving factors, returning to play for Mamaroneck is all-section senior-attacker Gristina, who is looking to capitalize against Section One’s top competition. Through the first few games of the season, Gristina already has an impressive number of goals and assists. Her speed puts her above the majority of attack players in the section, and her chemistry with fellow forwards Rogoff and Velazco makes for a lethal offense. The attack looks to make up for the younger defense–the Tigers lost three starting defensive players, as well as their starting goalkeeper, to graduation in 2021.

While many raised questions about the Tigers’ inexperienced defense, their offense has quickly changed the focus. Mamaroneck has already won 12 of their first 15 games, with 2 losses and one tie. According to their head coach, John Savage, the offense is “very complete.”

Mamaroneck has a long road ahead of them – their tough schedule has included top-10- ranked teams in Rye, John Jay-Cross River, Scarsdale, Lakeland, and Horace Greeley. The Tigers’ schedule, although challenging, will undoubtedly indicate whether or not they have what it takes to remain in the top ranks of Section One. 

So far, it looks like they do.